If home defense is your primary use, then the .357 with a 4 inch barrel is the way to go. If you intend to use it for concealed carry, then I would go with a .38 Spl. with a 2 inch barrel. If you are considering a CCW permit, I would go with the .38 Spl. It is a very effective round and has probably put more bad hombres on the ground that any other caliber. You can actually shoot .38 Spl in your .357, but not vice-versa if you decided to go with a .357 with a 2 inch barrel for both home and concealed. Bear in mind, a .357 with a 2 inch barrel is a fire-breathing dragon. There is one irrefutable truth about a wheel gun, they always work. Semi-autos on the other hand require practice and constant maintenance. If you ever watch footage of gangbangers or street hoods shooting their guns, you almost always see them fire one round and then try to clear the jammed gun. That is because they carry it in their pocket, with their Big Red Chewing Gum and their crack pipe. By the time they shoot it(without ever having disassembled or cleaned it), it is so gummed up inside with pocket lint, Skittles residue, and every other item they have ever carried in that pocket ,that it won't work. If they had a wheel gun, it would work. I hope no one tells them.